Cancer has overtaken heart-attack as the main cause of death in rich countries and will become the world’s most giant killer within a few decades if current trends persist, researchers said on Tuesday.
Publishing the findings of two extensive studies in The Lancet medical journal, the scientists said they showed proof of a brand new global “epidemiologic transition” between different types of heart disease.
While cardiovascular disease remains, for now, the main reason for mortality worldwide among middle-aged adults – accounting for 40% of all deaths – that’s no longer the case in rich countries, where cancer now kills twice as many individuals as heart-attacks, the findings confirmed.
Of an estimated 55 million deaths on the planet in 2017, the researchers said, round 17·7 million were due to heart problems – a group of conditions that includes angina, heart attack, and stroke.
Around 70% of all cardiovascular cases and deaths are due to modifiable risks like hypertension, high cholesterol, diet, smoking, and different lifestyle factors.
In rich countries, common remedy with cholesterol-reducing statins and blood-pressure medicines have helped bring rates of heart-attacks down dramatically in the past decades.
Dagenais’ team said their observations suggest that the higher rates of heart-attacks deaths in developing countries may be mainly because of a lower quality of healthcare.
The study found first hospitalization rates and heart disease treatment use was substantially lower in underdeveloped and developing nations than in rich ones.
The study was part of the Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiologic research, published in The Lancet and presented at the ESC Congress in Paris.
Countries analyzed included Argentina, Brazil, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Chile, Colombia, Iran, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Palestine, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, Tanzania, United Arab Emirates, and Zimbabwe.